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Health

How To Find Balance When Your World Is Spinning

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Posted By: Bryan Boorman

Do you sometimes get dizzy for no ‘apparent’ reason?  Did you know it could be due to an injury to your inner ear?  The technical term for this is a vestibular system injury.  The vestibular system provides information to your brain about the movement and position of your head. The vestibular system is located on both sides of the head, in the inner ear, and is considered the ‘balance center’ of the body. Vestibular therapy is aimed at restoring optimal function for individuals with dysfunction or injury in this system.

Here are some images we found online to help describe the vestibular system.

Common symptoms associated with vestibular dysfunction include dizziness, vertigo, and disequilibrium or imbalance.  Although vertigo is a type of dizziness, it is unique from other types of dizziness because it causes the person to feel that their surroundings are moving, usually in a spinning direction.

The most common cause of vertigo is a condition called “BPPV”, which stands for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. This problem occurs when crystals in the inner ear migrate into a canal where they are not supposed to be. The result can be vertigo.

BPPV has unique identifying characteristics: the vertigo occurs when the head is in certain positions, and typically only lasts for 10 to 15 seconds at a time. A common example is: “I lay down in bed on my side and for a few seconds it feels as though the room spins around in circles”.

In addition to the symptom of vertigo, individuals with BPPV will often report other symptoms such as feeling “a little bit dizzy”, or “off”, or “in a fog”, with movement of their head during normal daily activities.

Good News! BPPV is easy to diagnose and responds very quickly to treatment when performed properly by a therapist trained in vestibular rehabilitation. Usually only one or two treatments are required to make the vertigo stop, and the other associated symptoms will generally resolve within days or a couple of weeks afterward.

If you have symptoms of BPPV, contact Pursuit Physiotherapy to see Bryan Boorman, vestibular physiotherapist. The sooner you get in to have the diagnosis confirmed and get the appropriate treatment, the more quickly you will feel like yourself again!

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Health

Montrealer’s fight for insurance benefits highlights dangers of social media: lawyers

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MONTREAL — The case of a Montreal writer who said his insurance company refused to pay him disability benefits due in part to online postings is a reminder to people to watch what they put on the Internet, according to legal experts.

Literature professor Samuel Archibald published a letter in La Presse earlier this month detailing his struggles to get disability benefits after being diagnosed with severe depression last fall.

He wrote that while he was on leave from his job at Universite du Quebec a Montreal, the school’s group insurer opened an investigation because he had been able to take part in certain activities such as speaking with students, reading poems on the radio and making a 10-minute TV appearance.

They also looked at photos he had posted on social media that showed him jogging or playing with his children.

“They also used this new trick of peeling through the insured’s Facebook and Instagram pages in order to prove, in the event of a lawsuit, that he is not depressed,” he wrote on Feb. 12.

The article prompted a wave of denunciations from doctors, union leaders and citizens, with some sharing their own stories of being denied claims with the hashtag #avecsam.

It also elicited a response from Archibald’s insurance company, which defended its commitment to mental health and promised to review his file.

“Close to half of our group insurance claims are disability cases, and less than five per cent of mental health claims are declined,” Desjardins wrote in a statement.

“It’s important to note that each claim is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, while consulting with the insured, experts — including the attending physicians — and the employer.”

But the story is no surprise to legal experts, who say insurance companies are increasingly turning to social media to investigate claims.

David Share, a lawyer who specializes in insurance claims, says insurance companies have always conducted surveillance and been suspicious of certain kinds of disability claims.

He says that while firms have a responsibility to ensure claims are valid, social media can also offer “a cheaper, quicker way of trying to find grounds to deny a claim.”

As an example, he says insurance companies can argue that someone who spends a certain number of hours online is capable of working a desk job or taking calls.

“It’s easy to say ‘this person doesn’t look disabled,’ but that’s an overly simplistic way of looking at it,” he said.

Robert Currie, a lawyer and member of Dalhousie University’s law and technology institute, says insurance companies are too often allowed to be invasive and to jump to conclusions that aren’t supported by their evidence.

“You can’t judge anything meaningful about someone’s mental health based on their social media feeds,” said Currie.

“One thing we know is that social media feeds are extremely unreliable indicators of anything about a person, 95 per cent of the time.”

Both Share and Currie say that while the issue of social media monitoring raises privacy concerns, thus far there are few government regulations in place to stop it.

“The legal system is still trying to catch up with the Internet and the impact that it has, and it’s very difficult to prevent companies or investigators from being able to learn how to look things up online,” Share said.

Currie said that while people can have some legal recourse if they can show that companies breached strong privacy barriers, it’s far easier and less costly to assume that anything posted online can be found.

“A colleague has a sign on her office that reads: ‘Dance like nobody is watching; email as if it’s going to be read to a deposition some day,'” he said.

“I think people are far too casual about this.”

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

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Health

Highlights of Tuesday’s British Columbia budget

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VICTORIA — Highlights of British Columbia’s 2018-19 budget presented Tuesday:

— Effective Wednesday, a tax on foreign homebuyers increases by $5,000 to $20,000 and expands from Metro Vancouver to include homes in the Victoria-area, the Fraser Valley, the central Okanagan district in the province’s Interior, and the Nanaimo Regional District.

— A new speculation tax will be introduced in the fall aimed at foreign and domestic homeowners who don’t pay taxes in B.C., affecting properties in Metro Vancouver, the Victoria area, Fraser Valley, Nanaimo Regional District, Kelowna and West Kelowna.

— The property transfer tax on homes with a fair market value of more than $3 million increases to five per cent from three per cent.

— More than $6 billion will be spent over the next 10 years to create 114,000 housing units for families, seniors, students and women and children escaping domestic violence.

— Medical service plan premiums will be eliminated on Jan. 1, 2020, saving an individual up to $900 a year and families up to $1,800 annually.

— Starting Jan. 1, 2019, employers with payrolls of more than $500,000 will pay a new employer health tax, which is forecast to raise $1.9 billion in revenue in 2019-20.

— Beginning April 1, funding will be provided to licensed care providers to provide a $350 a month cut in the cost of a child care space.

— A new affordable child care benefit will start in September providing up to $1,250 a month per child.

— An additional $1 billion will be spent over the next three years to expand access to licensed child care, which the province says is part of its plan to create more than 22,000 new spaces.

— Fares will be frozen on BC Ferries’ three major routes and fares will be cut by 15 per cent on small routes.

— A forecast surplus of $219 million, with projections for surpluses to continue through the 2020-21 fiscal year.

— The government estimates it will spend $53.6 billion in the next fiscal year, up from an updated forecast of $51.8 billion for 2017-18.

— Economic growth for 2018 is forecast at 2.3 per cent, down from 3.4 per cent in 2017.

The Canadian Press

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